Saturday, December 27, 2014

Completed Christmas present: My little sister's

Several months ago I was working on building up my inventory of American Girl doll dresses to sell, so I made this dress,

It's based off this open front gown from the late 18th century.

And my little sister loved it. She wanted to buy it from me, but didn't have any money 
(oh the problems 10 year olds run into)
So I decided I'd save it to give to her, make a matching dress in her size, and give it to her for Christmas. I bought more of the same fabric I'd made the doll dress from, and looked through my lace stash to find some lace I wanted to use.

The wider ivory lace is a vintage cotton lace that I was given by a lady who was cleaning out her basement. It's gorgeous and amazing quality! The rose medallion lace was found at a thrift store and too pretty not to get. It turned out to be perfect for this project!

I made the green underskirt that went with the dress from some scrap fabric I already had, that I couldn't get more of, so I was going to have to use a different fabric for the underskirt of the girl-sized dress. When I went to get the striped fabric I came across this cotton print

Although the color looks strange in this picture, it actually perfectly matches the striped fabric, so I got enough to make a girl sized and doll sized under dress.

Now I was ready to sew! I used Simplicity 3725 as the base pattern. To make it match the historical gown I was attempting to some what copy, I eliminated the center front skirt panel, and made it front opening, like the original, rather than putting a zipper in the back like the pattern called for.
Making the gown front opening, without any form of closure showing, presented me with a bit of a challenge, and I'm pretty happy with the solution I figured out! I could have used hooks and eyes, but I wasn't sure how well those would work on a dress worn by an active 10 year old, so this is what I did.

I cut out twice as many center front bodice panels as the pattern instructions called for. So 4, both an outer piece and lining piece to attach to each side of the bodice. This way I could make them overlap, like this,

On the panel that was going to be hidden I made 10 button holes, 5 on each edge. 

On the other panel I sewed the buttons to the lining. They button toward the inside so they can't be seen when the dress is worn. This way the front of the dress looks great and is securely fastened!

Now for my favorite part, the lace!
There's not any lace on the original gown I was basing this one off, but I love lace, my sister loves lace, and this dress is a costume, not a reproduction, so lots of lace was added!
When I made the doll dress I had a small amount of a vintage corded cotton lace trim that I used down either side of the over skirt.

I loved how it looked. The challenge for the girl-sized dress was finding a similar lace, that I had enough of. I found the vintage cotton lace pictured near the top of this post, but I didn't have quite enough of it, I needed something else. So I decided to do a lace ruffle around the bottom of the over skirt at the place where the lace ended. I found some ruffled lace that I wanted to use, but it was white, not ivory like I needed, thus I tea-dyed it. Sadly, that made it too dark. I needed something else. Looking through my lace stash I found an ivory flat lace that I loved, and had just enough of. Even better, the color was slightly darker than the cotton lace, and slightly lighter than the tea-dyed lace, so it would work perfectly between the two, so I sewed all the lace on,

and, wha-lah!

I love how it turned out!

At the bottom of the elbow-length sleeves on the doll dress I had added a narrow lace ruffle, so I needed to do the same for this dress. No problem, I have plenty of ruffled lace, and I didn't need very much. I also added the rose medallion lace, just because I loved it with the fabric.
The sleeves turned out so pretty!

Now, onto the under dress! For the skirt I used the same pattern I did for the over-dress, so that the skirt would be plenty full. For the bodice I used a sundress bodice pattern, lowered the neckline, and added a ruffle that would peak out over the top of the over dress. Just for fun I added some lace.

My little sister was sooooo surprised when she opened her present Christmas morning! She thought I'd already sold the doll dress! The next day we went outside to get some pictures of her in the dress.

The weather was amazing for December!

She and her new American girl doll, Isabelle, really like their new dresses!

Of course Mistletoe had to be included in some pictures too!

The back is almost as pretty as the front in my opinion, I'm so glad I didn't put a zipper in it!

And even though she looks like a perfect little lady in this dress. . .

No matter what she's wearing, she's still my exuberant little sister

(rope swings are amazing, by the way, as are long skirts)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Holly and Mistletoe

10 am, Christmas Eve morning.
I took a break from sewing (I only had 2 things left to finish sewing for Christmas at this point) to go feed the goats.
I fed them.
I made sure they were all there and looking well (I have several due to kid in 2-3 weeks).
I walked back to the milkstand/feed storage area.
Then I heard something.
It sounded like a baby goat! But that didn't make any sense, all the mamas were eating out in the pasture where I had just fed them. All the does were there, none had been acting like they had just given birth, and none were supposed to be having babies just yet!
Well I went to investigate, and behind the sheds I found. . .
Two newborn doelings!!!
I picked them both up to get them out of the muddy lot and they both started crying, and a mama came running. These were Zing's daughters! I got the mama and babies settled in a kidding shed, and then realized that while one of the babies was up and running around,

 the other was still shivering. So I took that baby into the house, bottle fed her some of Zing's colostrum, and laid her on a towel next to the heat vent. I named her Holly.

A couple hours later she was doing much better!

So I took her back out to her mama and sister (now named Mistletoe, what else could I name Christmas Eve babies?)
Mistletoe (on the left) was very happy to have her sister Holly (on the right) back in the shed.

Holly nursed and was quite happy to be with Zing and Mistletoe. She still gets cold easily however, so last night she spent the night in the house, but is doing well and back with mama now.

Mistletoe, on the other hand, is very hardy and ventured outside today with Zing.

What a Christmas present Zing gave me! Twin does! (typically I get doe and buck twins or twin bucks as my goats are stingy with the does) And somehow I still managed to finish all the Christmas presents I was sewing, by about 1:00 this morning. 
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sparkly, Striped, Pleated, Ruffled, and Ribboned Christmas Dress

First off I apologize for the 3 weeks of silence. Nothing exciting has happened with the goats, and I've been very busy sewing, but not sewing things I could blog about (at least not until after Christmas). There is one Christmas Project I've finished that I can tell you about, however, my little sister's sparkly, striped, pleated, ruffled, and ribboned Christmas Dress. I just finished it this weekend!
Since I made myself a Christmasy-red dress, I decided I ought to  make my sister a red Christmas dress too. On Black Friday, Joann's had all of their Christmas fabric 75% off, so I picked up 3 yards of this red and green striped cotton, with metallic threads running through it, to make her a Christmas dress. I had a really cute dress design in mind.
Then I realized that she wears the historically inspired dresses I make her more often than the contemporary ones I've made her. I asked her about this and she confirmed that she likes the historical dresses better. This made me happy because I was the same way at her age, (Thanks Mom and Gram for all the colonial and pioneer style dresses you made me!) though it did mean I had to go back to the drawing board on a design for her dress. So of course I went to Pinterest and looked through lots of 19th century girls' dresses. After considering my options and showing my ideas to my sister, We decided on a skirt to resemble the one on this dress from 1910.
I love how the stripes are vertical for most of the dress, but the stripes on the skirt ruffles are horizontal.

For the bodice we liked this dress from the 1860's.
The slightly diagonal pleating on the bodice looks really cool, and is a rather common design from this era.
Now yes, I realizes these dresses were made 50 years apart, but as the goal was just a historically inspired dress, and not a reproduction of one specific dress from one specific era, I figured it was fine, and my sister was pretty happy with the result. 

Look at that smile!

I don't have any really good pictures showing the pleating on the bodice front, but the pleating on the bodice turned out just how I wanted it to! Here's the front of the bodice ( I had to gather the neckline a little, by hand sewing a running stitch in the lining, as it gaped originally).

And here's the back!

I trimmed the yoke and sleeves with red velvet ribbon and some rather unique lace my sister stumbled across at a thrift store.

I cut the ruffles so that the top edge was the selvage, thus the gathering wouldn't make that edge too bulky. I then sewed more red velvet ribbon over my gathering stitches when I sewed the ruffles to the skirt, like this,

I love how this dress turned out! Now back to sewing Christmas gifts!
 Merry Christmas! As you get wrapped up with preparations, don't forget to remember why we celebrate Christmas, because God gave the world the first, and best, Christmas gift 2000 years ago.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmasy-red dress

A few weeks ago when Butterick Patterns were on sale, I picked up this pattern.
I really liked the style of the blue dress on the front of the envelope.
I figured I would put off making the dress for a couple months, as I had other projects in progress at the time, I was going to need to buy fabric for this dress, and had no idea what sort of fabric I wanted to make the dress out of.

Then I found this fabric at Wal-Mart, and knew it would work perfectly. (plus it was on clearance!)
It's cottony-soft, very thin, and simi-sheer. 
I love how the stripes are made - the fabric is a looser weave for the dark stripes, and tighter for the lighter ones. I'm not sure what kind of fabric it is as the end of the bolt didn't tell me, but I'm thinking it's a cotton blend. 
I used an old sheet for lining.

It's surprisingly easy to put off other projects once you get the fabric for a dress you're really excited about. Thus, last week, this dress came to be.
I'm pretty happy with how it turned out (There are only a couple things I wish I could change) and I got lots of compliments on it when I wore it to church on Sunday.

The only thing I changed from the pattern was eliminating the front skirt seam. A seam down the center front of of a skirt annoys me, so instead I subtracted the seam allowance and cut the skirt front on the fold.

I added the trim and buttons on the neckline once the dress was finished because the collar wasn't laying right, and the neckline gaped  The trim and buttons (which I had left over from other projects) fixed that, and I love how festive they make the dress look. 

I just wish I had made the shoulders a little wider, as they are too narrow and kinda tight if I move my arms too much. A longer zipper would have been a good plan too.

Now that I have a festive dress I'm ready to start making Christmas presents, but I have no idea what to make for people. Last year I made cloth baskets and bread cloths for my aunts, any suggestions of what I could make this year? Something somewhat useful and easy to make (so I can make several in a short amount of time)?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Finished dresses (with sleeves)!

A couple weeks ago I went to Joann's, and came home with all this.
When all I meant to buy was one card of buttons.

Well at least when I buy fabric, I make something out of it (eventually). 
With the blue calico I wanted to make a girl-sized version of this dress for my little sister.
So I did, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out!
With this dress I got to learn a new skill - making covered buttons, something I'd never thought to try before. I got 1/2" button forms off Amazon, and started covering them. Covering buttons with fabric was actually easier than I expected it to be, so down the back of the dress are 11 buttons covered in the green fabric the sleeves and yoke are made from. I just hope those buttons stay together! I'm a little worried they might pop apart, but time will tell.

I bought the tan calico to make a winter dress for my self, as nearly all of my dresses are sundresses. After looking through my patterns I came up with a design.
I combined Butterick B5813 with Simplicity 1800, and added a few of my own details.

I changed a few things once I started sewing, and the dress wound up being a bit shorter than I meant for it to be, yet I'm very happy to have a cute dress with sleeves!
 The piping at the pockets and waist, along with the ruffled trim around the neckline, is actually made from scraps of my purple plaid wool.

Now I still haven't cut into the tan wool I got on that trip to Joann's, but that particular project is on this week's (may turn into next week's) to-do list, and I'm very excited about it!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Darned bucks. . .

This is the sight I woke up to this morning. . .
2 bucks and one doe running around in the back yard. 
There are a few things wrong with this picture
 1) there aren't supposed to be any goats in the yard.
 2) there should never be more than 1 buck in with a doe. (guess the sire is not a game I want to play)
 3) these animals were all in secure pens last night.

Now that being said it was rather funny to watch them

"Oh look there's a doe. In heat"

"She's mine!"  "Oh, no buddy, She's mine!"
*completely ignore the doe while they fight each other*
"Go away! She's mine!"

At about this point I caught the buck who wasn't supposed to breed this particular doe (the bigger one, with the most black on him, his name is Coach). 
"Why'd you have to shut me up in here? Isn't it my job to chase does?"

Then the remaining buck ( his name is Lucky) went to chasing the doe around and around and around the yard. There was no way I was gonna get them for a while so I left them be. I went to figure out how the heck the doe and Lucky had escaped their pen with the 6 foot high, chain link fence. And this is what I found.

Apparently coach jumped the fence to get out of his pen when he realized there was a doe in heat in another pen. Then he started to fight with Lucky through the fence of Lucky's pen until they bent the fence up enough that Lucky and the doe could get out. Darned bucks. Fixing a fence at 7 in the morning isn't my idea of a good way to start the day.  By the end of this I was beginning to think that goat sausage would taste really good. . . But then I remembered I really like baby goats, and goat milk. So I suppose I need to keep these boys around. They had better give me a heck of alot of amazing daughters for all the trouble they cause!!